A Look At Aikido Basics
When one thinks of Aikido basics, the thinking may be focused on the techniques involved in this martial art form. There are most certainly basic moves and techniques, and the student learns not only how to perform these techniques but when to use them to their maximum effect. There is however much more to Aikido basics than simple technique. Much of it has to do with basic movement and flow, much has to do with breathing, and much has to do with the mind.
Aikido is an art of self defense. Compared with some of the other martial arts, Aikido appears to be more passive, almost more like dancing than fighting. Where karate may be described as powerful, and its techniques somewhat angular, Aikido is on the surface less powerful and its movements more circular. Aikido basics include a number of techniques found in jujitsu, and the movements are in many ways similar to those of judo. Rather than using your own energy and power against an opponent, Aikido basics stress turning the opponent's power and energy against him.
Momentum As A Weapon - In the very simplest of examples, if someone is pushing you and you grasp him and pull in the same direction as the is pushing, stepping aside in the process, your antagonist is apt to go flying head over heels past you, unable to stop because of the additional momentum you've given him. One set of Aikido basics then deals with throwing techniques, some of which involve wrist and arm locks, and some of which do not.
Breathing - When one learns Aikido basics one will learn how to breathe correctly. While we breathe naturally, and for the most part without even thinking about it, in a stressful situation our breathing pattern can work against us. Not only is the breathing pattern an issue but the practitioner of Aikido learns the connection between breathing and the mind. This connection is learned and practiced in all of the martial arts and in meditation as well, yoga being a prime example of integrating breathing with the mind and body, the mental and the spiritual with the physical.
Empty Mind, Not Empty Head - When practicing Aikido one learns not to think. This would seem counter-intuitive, but the art of not thinking is very important and in the martial arts is referred to as the art of emptying one's mind. In a self-defense situation there is often no time for thinking. Thinking only gets in the way. You don't think of what you are going to do, but rely on the way you've been trained. You don't think about your opponent so much as observe your opponent, responding appropriately and instantly to what that person is doing. Emptying one's mind does not mean suddenly becoming totally forgetful or dumb, it simply means sweeping away the unnecessary clutter that fear or emotion can bring. Thoughts based on fear or emotion too easily become distractions.
Aikido Basics I - Aikido basics focus first on building basic body movements as well as on breathing and balance. The student next learns how to deflect attacks. Deflect is a key concept. In Aikido one does not meet force with force. As mentioned earlier, the opponent supplies the needed force and energy, which is turned against him.
Aikido Basics II - Once having learned how to deflect an attack, the student learns how to take control of a given situation and when necessary how to counter attack. Once having learned Aikido basics, a student will often be subjected to the concepts surrounding ki, a word sometimes translated as meaning energy, sometimes as meaning spirit, but in fact meaning an amalgamation of the two. As one begin to understand and appreciate the concepts surrounding ki, and not everyone grasps or believes in these concepts, Aikido, as is the case with many of the martial arts, begins to take on a definite philosophical tone, finding use not only in fighting or self defense, but in everyday living as well.